How to Make Paint for Kids

It’s smack dab in the middle of winter right now and we’ve been stuck in the house for months and months and months.  At least it seems like it.  The snow is up to my eyeballs.  Even the dog won’t go outside.  Grrrr….

I. AM. BORED. OUT. OF. MY. SKULL.

So I figured, why not start Audrey’s first painting lessons?  Maybe she’ll end up painting wall murals one day…just like mama!  (No pressure, kid).

The only problem is that she’s 8 months old and everything goes in her mouth.

I mean EVERYTHING!

I’m not about to let her use my professional (non-toxic) acrylic paint that I use to create my wall murals.  I figure craft paint is the cheapest alternative.  

Is it really non-toxic?

I head for the dollar store to look at craft paint.  It says “Non-Toxic.”  Awesome!  Let’s get started, babe!

But wait…do they mean non-toxic in general?  To breathe?  To eat?  To touch?

After a bit of Googling, it seems that craft paint should be OK.  In theory.  I did stumble on a caution that made me shutter though:

“Some…contain small amounts of ammonia (as a stabilizer) and formaldehyde (as a preservative), which may cause…allergies in sensitized individuals.]” Art & Safety Guide from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Ammonia?  Formaldehyde?  Eek!

They also said, “The potential hazards from paints are primarily associated with…pigments (e.g. lead carbonate, chrome yellow, cobalt arsenate).”

Here's a link to the guide for anyone wanting to do some more reading!

So craft paint is totally fine for me to use (since I wouldn’t be eating it or smearing it all over my skin), but there’s no way Audrey gets to use it.  Period. 

Baby safe paint

I played around with a couple baby safe paint recipes and thought I’d share my fav one.  It’s super easy (and fast) to make, costs way less than store bought paint and is totally safe for babies and kids.

And if your kids are a bit older than Audrey, you can include them in making the paint too – make it a science project for them!

HOMEMADE PAINT RECIPE

½ cup flour

½ cup salt

½ cup water

Mix all the ingredients together, separate it into small jars (I used old baby food jars) and then add food colouring (or natural paint pigment) to each jar – mix and paint.  It’s that easy! 

Paint making tips:

  • If the paint is too thick, add a bit of water into the jar. 
     
  • Get the lids on the jars when you’re done so the paint doesn’t dry up. 
     
  • I keep it in the fridge since I make the paint with natural food colouring and I don’t want it to go bad.
     
  • You can use regular food colouring to add colour to your paint too.  You’ll get brighter colours, it’s quick and it’s pretty cheap. 

  • But if you want a more natural route, I also experimented with creating my own paint pigments (because the lead carbonate/cobalt arsenate thing totally freaked me out!). 

They turned out pretty amazing for the paint.  More pastel than the bright colours from food colouring.

AND you can use the pigments in your baking too!  I used the red in some cupcakes to make a pretty pink frosting.  

Baby holding paint brush - AboutMurals.ca

Painting is such an amazing creative outlet (take it from this mama who paints wall murals).  It’s sort of like cooking but without adding extra padding to your hips! 

Plus when your kids hold a paint brush, it helps develop their fine motor skills. 

I’m excited to pass this on to Audrey.  It’s a no-brainer!

Let’s keep in touch

I’d love to hear how your paint turns out (and see your kid’s art).  Let me know how it goes in the comments below.

**Disclaimer: my games and activities are not scientifically proven, but are routed in my own research, experiences and explorations.  Always supervise your baby while having fun with her.  Never allow infants or children to play with items small enough that may be a choking hazard.

Adrienne ScanlanComment